Post-Colonialism: Definition, Development and Examples from India
This speech deals with the phenomenon of post-colonialism. It presents general definitions of the post-colonial theory and provides some information about its development as well as illustrating background knowledge about basic landmarks of India's colonial past. It then concentrates onthe post-colonial development of India which was a British colony until 1947.
1. Post-colonialism in general1.1 Definition
Post-colonialism is an intellectual direction (sometimes also called an “era” or the “post-colonialtheory”) that exists since around the middle of the 20
century. It developed from and mainlyrefers to the time after colonialism. The post-colonial direction was created as colonial countries became independent. Nowadays, aspects of post-colonialism can be found not only in sciencesconcerning history, literature and politics, but also in approach to culture and identity of both thecountries that were colonised and the former colonial powers. However, post-colonialism cantake the colonial time as well as the time after colonialism into consideration.
The term “decolonisation” seems to be of particular importance while talking about post-colonialism. In this case it means an intellectual process that persistently transfers theindependence of former-colonial countries into people’s minds. The basic idea of this process isthe deconstruction of old-fashioned perceptions and attitudes of power and oppression that wereadopted during the time of colonialism.First attempts to put this long-term policy of “decolonising the minds” into practice could beregarded in the Indian population after India became independent from the British Empire in1947.However, post-colonialism has increasingly become an object of scientific examination since1950 when Western intellectuals began to get interested in the “Third World countries”. In theseventies, this interest lead to an integration of discussions about post-colonialism in variousstudy courses at American Universities. Nowadays it also plays a remarkable role at EuropeanUniversities.A major aspect of post-colonialism is the rather violent-like, unbuffered contact or clash of cultures as an inevitable result of former colonial times; the relationship of the colonial power tothe (formerly) colonised country, its population and culture and vice versa seems extremelyambiguous and contradictory.This contradiction of two clashing cultures and the wide scale of problems resulting from it must be regarded as a major theme in post-colonialism: For centuries the colonial suppressor often had been forcing his civilised values on the natives. But when the native population finally gainedindependence, the colonial relicts were still omnipresent, deeply integrated in the natives’ mindsand were supposed to be removed.So decolonisation is a process of change, destruction and, in the first place, an attempt to regain